Washing Ewer and Bowl

Antique pottery bowl and ewer used for washing. These are not a set. One belonged to my mother’s maternal and the other to her paternal grandmother. They are delicate, so it’s easy to understand that a set might not survive.

In houses without plumbing, most houses at the time these were made, water was kept ready in the pitcher for morning wash-ups in the bedroom. The piece of furniture the bowl sat on was called a commode. It had a rack for a towel, sometimes a mirror, and a chamber pot was kept in the cabinet. I’m eternally grateful to have been born well after a commode was necessary!

My mother’s two grandmothers were very different. The one was stout and looks in pictures as if she likes to cook – she often wears an apron. The other was very thin. Mother said when they visited her father’s family, she was sometimes chosen to sleep with her grandmother. The bed was high and difficult for a young girl to climb into. Mother would cling to the edge, hoping not to fall out, but worried she’d roll over in the night and squash her grandmother.

BTW, the flowers, sadly, are fake.

Black Cat Canister

Black Cat Decanter or Cruet. Research shows it might be Shafford redware, although the Shafford cats have green open eyes, and this one has little “v” slits. About 10″ tall, red paint intact. The red bow has streamers down the back.

This belonged to my husband’s grandmother (whose ring I was given for our engagement). Odd the things you want to save. Of all the things in her house, this was what my husband wanted.

He was close to her. She took him bowling and then to a coffee shop, Ships, in Los Angeles. He remembers that his sister saw Robert Wagner there. He never saw a movie star, but the times spent with his grandmother were special.

Small Carved Statue

Chinese scholar with abacus.  8 ½ inches high, heavy carved stone.

The most vexing family objects are those that have been around since your childhood and you forgot to ask about them before your parents died.

This little statue sat in our living room for years.  My father, an architect, designed our house, including steel-framed teak cabinet that covered one whole wall of the living room.  In the bottom were stereo speakers.  Above were shelves, artfully placed so as to make interesting niches.  The original wall behind the cabinet was covered with a green burlap which my parents mounted on panels.  Very modern, very DIY.

This little statue had a niche all to itself. In contrast to the flashier glass and carvings on display, the scholar kept his own counsel and tended to be overlooked.  I assume Daddy brought him home from the Pacific where he served in the war.  But I don’t know for sure. So the story is that there is no story.  Sort of sad…